Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Edward Bristow, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dotan Leshem, Ph.D.


This thesis provides an analysis of the global concern with “illiberal democracies,” which are states with at least some democratic institutions but diluted civil societies. From there, it establishes Hungary as a case study of how a young democracy has entered into institutional decline through an analysis of both the illiberal policies of the current Hungarian government as well as relevant historical context that may have disadvantaged Hungary in transitioning to democracy in the first place. As a post-communist country now heading down the path towards increasing authoritarianism, Hungary serves as a prime example of this issue. Specific areas in which illiberal policies have affected Hungary include the country’s press, judiciary, media, and electoral system. These concerns have been identified by relevant scholarship as fundamental in the movement towards an illiberal state. In this thesis, I am trying to prove that attempts to manipulate a nation’s “public culture,” which is the manner in which a nation views itself culturally, are closely correlated with illiberal governments and associated policies. Hungary affirms this correlation due to the constant focus on cultural issues by its governing party, Fidesz, through both rhetoric and associated messaging.